Dorchester is a historic neighborhood comprising over 6 square miles (16 km2) in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. The town was founded by Puritans who emigrated in 1630 from Dorchester, Dorset, England. This dissolved municipality, Boston's largest neighborhood by far, is often divided by city planners in order to create two planning areas roughly equivalent in size and population to other Boston neighborhoods.
The neighborhood is named after the town of Dorchester in the English county of Dorset, from which Puritans emigrated on the ship Mary and John, among others and is today sometimes nicknamed "Dot" by its residents.
Founded in 1630, just a few months before the founding of the city of Boston, Dorchester now covers a geographic area approximately equivalent to nearby Cambridge. It was still a primarily rural town and had a population of 12,000 when it was annexed to Boston in 1870. Railroad and streetcar lines brought rapid growth, increasing the population to 150,000 by 1920. In the 2010 United States Census, the population was 92,115. Dorchester as a separate municipality would rank among the top five Massachusetts cities.
It has a very diverse population, which includes a large concentration of African Americans and a foreign-born population made up of European Americans, Irish-American immigration, Caribbean Americans, Latinos, and East and Southeast Asian Americans. Most of the people over the age of 25 have completed high school or obtained a GED. Nearly 60% of the population earns less than $40,000 per year and a majority of them live in rental units. Currently, there is a foreclosure crisis occurring and, as a result, 25% of the Boston's distressed buildings are located in the community.